To contact the Design Competition Coordinator please send email
Emails with questions regarding the competition process or rules,
or questions about the site will be answered on the website. No
individual email will be sent. Email requesting posters or website
link information will be responded to on a weekly basis.
Design Competition Questions and Answers
Q: Are there any specific programmatic requirements such as that
the memorial must have the names of those who have lost their
lives to AIDS? If not, is part of the challenge to figure out
a creative way of indicating to the public that this is in fact
a memorial without using a sign? (ie. The project is not functional
but symbolic only?) Also, are we allowed to dig below ground in
A: There is no programmatic requirement to list names. Questions
of signage and signification are entirely up to the competitors;
the competition takes no position on what the most appropriate
response should be. As to subsurface digging, it is assumed that
appropriate foundations may require excavation, cut and fill,
and other site manipulation. Competitors should suggest a solution
that is sensitive to the site (see program), but also structurally
Q: Hi, Im just curious is the competition for a logo, or
are you looking for a design to integrate into landscape or both.
A: The competition is for a design to integrate into the landscape.
Q: We would like to register for the design competition, but
are unclear as to whether we fall under 'studio' or 'individual/group'.
A: A Studio is being defined as a group of individuals who will
enter as a group with each individual being credited with participating
in the entry. An individual entry would only have a single entity
listed as the originator of the design entry.
Q: If this is a National Competition does that mean that as a
U.K architect I can not enter? Please let me know as soon as possible
whether or not this competition is for American residents only.
A: This is an International competition and entries are being
accepted from all countries.
Q: I am an English architect living in London, UK. If I entered
will I get an equal chance in winning as the U.S architects?
A: All competition entries will be maintained and judged in complete
anonymity. All entries and entrants will be treated equally. Everyone
who enters has an equal chance of winning.
Q: Is the Golden Park visited during the night, or will it be
visited in the future?
A: Golden Gate Park is open to the public throughout daytime
and evening hours. Visits during the evening hours are typically
limited to the buildings and streets within the park that are
Q: Are there going to be any site tours organized by the Grove?
A: No the Grove will not be organizing or hosting any site tours.
Q: Are there going to be any city meetings about the competitions?
A: No there will not be any city meetings about the competition.
Q: Does the organization have any plans to retrofit the western
portion of the park in order to make it handicap accessible?
A: No current plans to do this work.
Q: Can the design or elements of the design be placed to the
west of the dell along the Wildflower Garden slope?
A: Probably OK if the proposed design has a strong connection
back to the Grove proper. May be more difficult to gain approval
from Golden Gate Park if not within our established boundaries.
Q: How sacrosanct is the meadow? In the event there is a desire
or need to cut deep into the earth, is this a viable option?
A: This would likely require modification to the existing drainage
system, which does not rule it out as a possibility. A rainwater
run-off holding tank is only a few feet beneath much of the meadow.
Also, the meadow needs to remain usable for large gatherings.
The current drainage system is not excellent (a tremendous amount
of water drains to this low point in the park) and the meadow
often becomes very muddy during the rainy season.
Q: Handicap accessibility, which seems to be the burning question
A: No current plans to do any additional accessibility work,
if that is the question. However, the organization is open to
considering improvements as part of the entrants designs.
Q: Designs that extend up, over, and/or beyond the actual Grove
(as a way of enticing people into the Grove).
A: Any design the organization ultimately may wish to construct
must pass through an approval process which includes San Francisco
Recreation and Parks, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,
and the San Francisco Arts Commission, among others. This process
may be even more complex if the design extends beyond the boundaries
of the National AIDS Memorial Grove. It is not impossible to gain
approvals, but they are by no means guaranteed. Ultimately it
is for you to decide how important this is to the success of your
design, and to be aware when you are not adhering to the guidelines
set forth in the competition brief.
Q: Use of water on the site: can the Dry Creek or parts of it
become a wet--and hence, a real--creek?
A: No physical restriction. Historically the Park has discouraged
water featuresbecause of expense and high maintenance requirements.
Q: Additional topographic information available?
A: No. All the info we have has been depicted on the site plan.
Q: Additional information about the Oak Tree Disease number
of trees infected, treatment program [in place], etc.?
A: No additional information yet.
Q: Number of people who monthly visit the grove?
A: The Grove currently estimates 1000 to 2000 visitors per month.
Q: Are you open to additional programming as a part of
the Design Proposal?
A: While this is entirely at the discretion of the designer,
proposals that exceed the scope described in the brief (size and
cost) may be at a disadvantage.
Q: An irrigation system is visible in some of the photographs
and the Auto-Cad plans indicate a creek, a pump and a layer called
Artemisia we understand to be water coming from an artemsian fountain.
Could you please specify where the water comes from, the height
of the water table on the site or the depth at which the pump
is getting the water, and more generally indicate whether the
water was brought to the site by previous landscape interventions
or preceded any
A: No fountain. Pump is run as needed to remove rainwater run-off.
Holding tank for rainwater run-off exists several feet below most
of the meadow. Artemisia is a plant material.
Q: We would like to know what kind of infrastructures, gas lines,
electrical power lines and so on, cut the site underground. If
updates to the drawings are not available, any verbal description
which would include the feasibility and limitationsof existing
infrastructures at the grove would be helpful.
A: No information, other than we are certain of the existence
of a large rainwater run-off tank about three feet below much
of the meadoweast/west orientation, pretty much running
the entire length of the meadow along a center axis. The tank
has three points of access (manhole covers) in the meadow, in
line, one in the center and one toward each end.
Q: Could you recommend any good books with historical insight
into the Golden Gate Park and its urban relationship to San Francisco?
We would be particularly interested in any authors who do take
into account design intentions as well as political forces in
the evolving relationship between the Park and the City.
A: The Making of Golden Gate Park by Raymond H. Clancy
+ Building San Franciscos Parks by Terrence
Q: In describing the goals for the competition, the proposed
design is asked to serve as a focal point and significant
icon for the Grove"; implied in the competition brief there
is also a sense that the proposal should be enhancing the sensorial
and experiential qualities of the existing landscape at the grove.
Although these notions need not to be necessarily contradictory,
we feel there might be need for clarification, as one tendency
would be focusing on the creation of a recognizable (marketable?)
icon, and another would be less object-driven. Which one of these
two tendencies is the competition seeking to encourage?
A: Both concepts are important to the organization. Designers
may wish to include more than one facet or component in their
proposals. Another way to approach this question could be to restate
the goals. Two important goals of the organization (not in any
order of importance) are (1) to become more well-known and recognized
nationally, to help our mission to raise awareness about AIDS
and (2) to provide each visitor to the Grove a meaningful and
personal experience. We feel that each designer will have a different
view on how to best further these goals.
Q: Is the grove primarily (or exclusively) used during daylight?
Are the adjacent roads open to vehicular traffic at night?
A: Yes. Use of park, except for thru traffic, is restricted at
Q: Are there more detailed drawings available, specifically sections,
which would describe the relationship between the Grove and adjacent
streets? Are there paved sidewalks, or bushes? One of the Grove's
paths runs parallel to Middle Drive East; is that path accessible
from the other side of the road? Is there a sidewalk on the other
side of the road?
A: No additional drawings. Paved path or sidewalk
does run parallel to Middle Drive E on south (Grove) side of street.
There are several points of entry to the paved path along Middle
Drive. There is no paved path on the north side of the street.
Q: What quality ground and how deep is underground water within
the designed area?How big percent of this area is possible to
use under building development?
A: A rainwater run-off holding tank is beneath much of the meadow.
We do not know its exact location or dimensions. A building
is not part of the program. The scale of the new memorial feature
is at the discretion of the designer, but the competition brief
suggests that it complement and be in scale with the existing
features and the Grove itself, which has been designed as a living
Q: Are there any requirements or restrictions to build semi or
entirely enclosed functional spaces for the memorial?
A: No requirement. The organization has never wished for or envisioned
a typical building in the Grove, and Golden Gate Park would probably
not allow one. As for semi or entirely enclosed spaces (to create
an experience), it is up to the sensitivity, vision, and talent
of each designer to submit a proposal that will entice the visitor,
respect the Grove, fit in with the existing landscape and features,
and otherwise fulfill the goals and objectives set forth in the
competition brief. Maintenance and security must be taken into
account. Remember, a lot of people sleep (illegally) in the park,
and vandalism is an ongoing problem.
Q: If it is allowed or required to design enclosed or semi-enclosed
structures, are they open for interpretation by the designers
and are there any area footage limitations?
A: Not required. Open for interpretation, but be aware that the
organization has never wished for or envisioned a typical building
in the Grove, and Golden Gate Park would probably not allow one.
Our best answer is to suggest that in this case smaller is probably
better, less is more, and poetry beats prose. See previous question
Q: Is there any area(s) on the site plan where these built structure(s)
are restricted to?
A: A built structure is not required. At the same time, it/they
are also not restricted to a particular area. The organization
does not wish to limit creativity or to quash ideas that it may
not have imagined. However, it is likely that the winning design
will be sensitive to the living nature of the memorial and complement
the existing landscape. It is difficult to answer this question
because the term built structure can evoke so many
images. See previous questions and answers.
Q: Is there any height limit to the built structure(s)?
A: Any proposal for this memorial should be the right scale to
succeed. Yes, it should also be in scale with the Grove and the
existing features in the Grove. The organizers did not set a random
height limit because the scale of your design should first an
foremost be appropriate for the success of your design.
Q: You have indicated that access for maintenance vehicles needs
to be provided near "crossroads circle" but where do
these vehicles come from? Which of the current paths need to be
maintained or what new paths need to be provided to allow this
A: Vehicles currently reach the Crossroads Circle via the roads
N + S of the meadow.
Q: Does the $2 million stated as the budget for this memorial
need to include any necessary design work by a landscape architect
or civil engineer, site preparation such as foundations, pathways,
plantings, benches, lighting, signage, etc, or is the budget strictly
for an art piece and the other functions would be
A: The $2 million is inclusive of all construction and construction
related activities proposed in your solution. Professional fees
are not included in this amount. However, the Grove will pay only
those fees, and only at those amounts, that are customary and
routine for this type of work.
Q: If we are chosen as the designer of the memorial, are we then
contracted to actually build the piece or is that work bid out
to other entities?
A: We think this depends on the nature of your proposal. If it
is more of an artistic piece and only you have the capability
to build it, the Grove would probably need to contract with you,
as an artist. If the proposal is more of a landscape installation,
the Grove would probably need to bid the work out and follow the
city of San Franciscos requirements for bidding public projects.
Q: I am a LA living in France and would like to enter the competition.
I have some concerns about shipping. Do you have any suggestions
for shipping, such as shipping companies, method of packing, etc.?
Are there any commercial services in SF that can receive a drawing
by mail, mount it on foam core board and then forward the boards
to the competition? I know that is asking a lot, but in the south
of France there are not too many choices.
A: The competition suggests you make use of a recognized international
shipping company such as Federal Express or UPS. We cannot be
responsible for suggesting packing methods, though we do suggest
you protect your boards carefully. We also can not suggest local
companies for foam core mounting. We suggest you complete that
work in your home town and ship it with all necessary care.
Q: Can the entry extend beyond or be placed within any areas
immediately adjacent (outside of) the approximate grove boundary?
(i.e. across Middle Drive East; or south up the southern slope?)
A: Not impossible, but definitely complicates the chances of
getting your design approved by all of the necessary authorities,
should you win. Anything to be constructed must be approved by
the National AIDS Memorial Grove board of directors, San Francisco
Recreation and Parks, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,
the San Francisco Arts Commission, and probably a couple other
agencies. If a strong design reason exists for exceeding the boundaries,
just be aware that it may or may not be possible to ultimately
win approval for construction. The smaller the extension, the
higher the likelihood that it could work. Also, the top of the
south slope is the maintenance yard and nursery for Golden Gate
Q: The Southern most path on the map moving E W (the path
labeled unimproved on the CAD site drawing, is that
occupy able? Do people use it?
A: Footpath along ridge adjacent to Park Nursery is used for
maintenance, and by walkers + bikers. It is very steep at the
east end by the Arbor Day Knoll, and proceeds along a fence to
the south separating the Grove from the maintenance yard.
Q: You mention that the area west of the Crossroads
Circle is not universally accessible right now. First, does this
mean the ENTIRE site west of the Circle or a more limited area?
A: Yes. Grove west of Crossroads Circle is not universally accessible.
The grade of the paths exceed the accessibility standards.
Q: Second, if the answer to the above question is yes, if we
propose something that includes this area is it mandatory that
we include landscaping provisions for its universal accessibility?
Or can we assume that this is something that can be worked out
in further stages of the winning proposals development?
A: It would be preferred that a solution to accessibility deficiencies
be addressed if entrant is selecting for their proposal a portion
of the Grove that presently has limited access.